49.2, Fall/Winter 2012
Julie Carr and John Michael Rivera, editors
What now is an I? The essays in this issue explore the ontological, political, and imagined subjects in a wide range of fields: literature, medicine, law, politics, environmental studies, poetics, visual culture, digital culture, film. We begin with the widely held assumption that poststructuralist theory complicated the first-person perspective, and thus left many literary theorists and writers grappling with how to represent subjects. While the positions and ramifications of poststructuralism have long been debated and tempered, anxieties about what constitutes subjective agency, and what value we place on the individual subject in both literary and political realms remain high today. Our contention is that all historical and contemporary forms are created in response to changing ideas of what constitutes the human subject. But it is equally thrue that our ideas of subjectivity evolove with changing literary, technological, and cultural forms. This issue renders a more complete portrait of this dynamic. The second issue will expland this conversation as responders to these essays engage and explore our evolving concepts of selfhood.